The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
Alford leaves good impressions, Campbell plans visit
From multiple coaches over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing that Tony Alford continues seeing a bit of J.K. Dobbins in the running backs he’s focused on recruiting in the 2021 class.
The latest star RB who Alford has been comparing to Dobbins is Lamar Consolidated (Texas) High School four-star Brandon Campbell. Like Dobbins, Campbell hails from the Lone Star State, and he has similar measurables – Campbell is 5-foot-10, 190 pounds; Dobbins was 5-foot-10, 195 pounds when he graduated.
What’s not similar is their rankings, as Dobbins finished No. 46 overall, No. 2 at all-purpose back and No. 6 in Texas, and Campbell is ranked No. 317 overall, No. 21 at running back and No. 48 in Texas. That rankings drop for Campbell came on Monday, as he dropped from No. 244 overall, No. 14 at RB and No. 40 in Texas.
But Campbell, who was measured at 4.58 in the 40, 4.07 in the shuttle and 36.40 for a vertical jump in March, is still one of the top targets for Alford and Ryan Day as the Buckeyes look to close in on two running backs in the class.
“They love his athleticism, explosiveness and vision. His home run ability,” Lamar Consolidated head coach Rick LaFavers told Eleven Warriors. “Coach Alford thinks he is another Dobbins. Brandon is a very mature, bright-eyed, respectful student-athlete, and they are impressed by those traits along with his work ethic and focus.”
Campbell is high on Ohio State as well, as he’s done his homework on the Buckeyes’ program. He and LaFavers have spoken about what stands out about Ohio State and how the Buckeyes could be a good option for his future.
“He understands the tradition and history of OSU, and that excites him,” LaFavers said. “He is still trying to figure out what and who is the best fit for him.”
Alford offered Campbell in late January, and the manner in which he offered Campbell went a long way for LaFavers, leaving a good impression.
“Coach Alford called me first to let me know beforehand (that he was going to offer), which I greatly appreciated,” LaFavers said. “In Texas, we strongly believe in straight-line recruiting and the normal – and right – thing to do is communicate to the high school coach beforehand about the offer. OSU was first class, and I greatly appreciate that.”
The next step in Campbell’s Ohio State recruitment will be for him to get to campus for a visit, and the plan right now is to visit in March, most likely for a spring practice.
“He is planning to visit OSU. I believe during spring ball,” LaFavers said. “I am not sure on other visits. He has a long list of offers, and he and I have discussed his need to start narrowing things down and visiting places. He is graduating in December so his timetable will be accelerated.”
Campbell will be an early enrollee at whatever program he chooses, as he has nearly 40 total offers, including from Alabama, LSU, Penn State, USC, Virginia Tech, Texas, Washington, Baylor, Florida and Auburn. Some of those schools will also be getting visits from Campbell before he makes a decision.
“He will either (commit) at the beginning of the season so he can focus on having a great senior season, or a few weeks into the season,” LaFavers said. “But he wants it done and off his shoulders so he can focus.”
Prather eyes March visit
As we’ve said previously, Ohio State has been given a golden opportunity of being able to be patient with its 2021 receiver recruiting because of the work put in by Brian Hartline in the 2020 cycle and his early work with the junior cycle in landing Jayden Ballard and Marvin Harrison Jr.
Now, the Buckeyes are able to wait on decisions from top targets Emeka Egbuka and Troy Stellato. If both of those players eschew opportunities with the Buckeyes, though, Hartline and Ohio State will still be looking to bring in at least one more receiver in the 2021 class.
Northwest (Md.) High School four-star receiver Kaden Prather is another whom the Buckeyes are looking at, though it doesn’t sound like Prather is necessarily being recruited hard by Ohio State at this point in the process. That could certainly change depending on decisions from Egbuka and Stellato.
Hartline stopped by Northwest High School on Jan. 29, popping in for a quick visit, and Northwest head coach Mike Neubeiser told Eleven Warriors that Hartline “does touch base from time to time.”
At this point in time, Prather does not have any college visits set up, but Neubeiser says they’re “working on getting Kaden up to OSU in March.”
Neubeiser added: “Nothing (is) set yet. We'll get in touch with coach (Larry) Johnson and coach Ryan Day to find out the best date to come up. … Coach Johnson recruits our area. He has been communicating with Kaden the most.”
Some of the biggest draws for Prather to Ohio State, says Neubieser, are “tradition, success of past receivers, shot at national championship every year, elite coaching staff, elite culture.”
Prather is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver, ranked No. 300 overall, No. 54 at receiver and No. 13 in the state of Maryland. Those rankings are all slightly down from the time he received his Ohio State offer (No. 283, No. 48, No. 12).
Prather is a talented player, and according to a recent scout evaluation by 247Sports’ Brian Dohn, Prather is a “long, big-bodied receiver with ability to play at 225 pounds. Strong and physical. Gets off line quickly and into routes well. Flashes out of breaks. Locates ball well. Knows how to use size against smaller defenders. Shows burst after catch.”
Fatheree trims list
Foster (Texas) High School offensive lineman Reuben Fatheree has put Ohio State as one of the final schools he is focusing on in his recruitment, putting the Buckeyes alongside eight other programs in a trimmed list.
First I want to thank God for blessing me to be in this position. I want to also thank all the coaches and schools for their interest in me but these will be the nine schools I will be focusing on #humbled pic.twitter.com/oE9htw3jrB— Reuben Fatheree II (@deuce_fatheree) February 24, 2020
Fatheree, a 6-foot-8, 305-pound junior, is the No. 15-ranked offensive tackle in the country, and he ranks as the No. 118 overall prospect and No. 19-ranked junior in Texas. We haven’t heard much about Fatheree in terms of an Ohio State recruitment, and he is presumably behind several other top Buckeye targets in the trenches, notably JC Latham, Rocco Spindler, Jager Burton and Tristan Leigh.
But as dominoes fall and commitments are made, it’s worth keeping an eye on Fatheree for now.